To the People of My Past
We met and talked today. It was so wonderful to see you all, to remember why I loved this place. I wasn’t worried about the good times or the good memories. Those are things we never think to worry about.
We haven’t seen each other in some time… I have been around to places and met people and seen those things that many long to see, but you have been constant and stayed, more weariness around the eyes and a heavier lift in your smile, but there you were. At back doors and back lots you waited and we spoke and there was so much to say as we smiled and remembered all we had and were and probably will be. But there was something you didn’t sense, that sense that I had let you down before.
You were helpful, I was gracious, it was so good to see you… and then in the pauses, in the gaps I heard all I hadn’t done right. Yes, I was so foolish then, only a child trying to find her way home. I remember the days when I thought college was going to be the steps to adulthood, but really it was the training wheels of a silly girl who just learned how to ride the bike. I lifted myself above and beyond what I thought I was, and I was really so far behind. I let you suffer through my denial of my true identity.
Only a child, and in your part, you all helped raise me. But I let you down. I won’t deny I brought you down, but you gave me much more than I should have deserved. I didn’t complete all I needed to, I didn’t come through when you needed me, but did you ever really need me? So much older, so much wiser, but I suppose we needed each other. It kept you living to see how far I’ve come.
But I won’t forget those times I made you angry. I breached the limits and you felt the sting. You let me in and then regretted forgetting to shut the door behind you. You didn’t always regret. Sometimes, it was like I had caught you before you had the chance to regret I was there and you were pleased to see me. Then, other times, I overstayed my welcome.
You bore me like a saint, and I am grateful.
Then, after leaving you and all you’ve given me, I began to reflect on others of my past. The ones who left and left me constant, who broke my heart and took no blame for the damage or havoc you wreaked. I have battle scars and trophies on the same shelves, balancing one another out. The boy who first took my heart in his hands, the man who taught me how not to be afraid, the woman who brought me step by step out into first light. In your own way, you were champions. In your own way, you were blades.
Without you, I would not be who I am. But without you, I would have spared myself much pain.
But what is love without pain? What is trial without grace? What is sin without forgiveness?
We need those opposites to make us whole again.
So, the people of my past. In the end, you will all stand together to face me for who you are.
Together, you will stand and take credit for who I have become.
Those who I will thank, you know your place.
And oh, how I shall thank you.